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As with all of Madagascar’s special reserves, the Nosy Mangabe Special Reserve was established with the intention of providing a refuge for a particular species; in this case one of the oddest creatures on earth, the aye aye.

Until recently is was feared that the aye-aye was extremely close to extinction, mainly due to habitat destruction and the superstitious fear that the Malagasy hold for the animal, causing many to kill it on sight. Recently there have been many more sightings of the creature over a range of different habitats making its chance of survival more promising. There are now around 20 specimens on Nosy Mangabe, one or two of which can often be found feeding at the water’s edge.

However, it is not just the aye-aye that makes Nosy Mangabe worth visiting.  The island comprises just over five square kilometres of tropical rainforest, rising steeply from the idlyllic palm-fringed beaches. It is an uninhabited paradise with waterfalls and a beautiful low altitude humid forest with buttress trees, orchids, palms, and pandanus (screwpines) in abundance.

Two other diurnal lemur species are found here, the black-and-white ruffed lemur and the white fronted brown lemur. During the night walk you may also see the rufous mouse lemur. The family of gecko, Uroplatus, are found throughout Madagascar, but all of the species in this family have evolved an incredible system of camouflage with body frills and a chameleon’s colour changing abilities making them almost impossible to find. Here on Nosy Mangabe they are found in such high density that your guide can more easily point them out to you!

The island reserve lies five kilometres off the coast from Maroantsetra, just off the Masoala Peninsular in northeast Madagascar. It has no accommodation, but makes for a fantastic day excursion from Maroantsetra or Masoala.

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: large leaf-tailed gecko, mouse lemur, eastern woolly lemur, aye-aye, humpback whale
  • Where: Antogil Bay, Madagascar